Rachel Wade: The battle was over a man who was hardly worth the trouble. It would end with one young woman dead and the other in prison for a very long time.
Stella Nickell: A case of product tampering leaves two people dead. But who slipped cyanide into the Excedrin pills. Could it be someone connected to one of the victims?
Kimberly McCarthy: Once she’d been an honor student but a meth addition had turned Kimberly into a killer, targeting the elderly to feed her habit.
Corrine Sykes: A young African American maid is accused of killing her wealthy, white employer and ends up in the electric chair. But was Corrine Sykes really guilty?
Eva Coo: Eva was convinced that her clever murder-for-profit scheme could not fail. One small detail would prove her undoing.
Michele Kalina: Michelle had warned her family never to open a certain closet in the home. When 19-year-old Elizabeth broke that rule, a dreadful secret was revealed.
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Deadly Women Volume 7
It has all the elements of a Hollywood movie and, indeed, it was made into one, albeit of the low-budget, made-for-TV variety. At its center, as in so many thrillers of this ilk, was a manipulative femme fatale, pulling the strings and making the men in her life dance like puppets. But Sharee Miller was no Kathleen Turner in Body Heat, no Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct. She was a dumpy, plain-looking mother-of-three, each of her kids sired by different fathers. How she was able to exert such control is difficult to fathom.
Sharee Miller was born in Michigan on October 13, 1971. She grew to be a precocious teen who left home at age sixteen and was married and the mother of a child by nineteen. That union, however, was never going to last. Not with Sharee’s wild side and overtly flirty nature. Eventually, it broke down, and Sharee hit out on her own. Over the next few years, she’d bounce from one relationship to another, most of them of short duration. She’d also become pregnant twice and bear two children by different lovers. One of those men she married, but the marriage ended in divorce after her husband was convicted of child abuse. He had struck one of the children so hard that the child had suffered skull fractures.
By 1997, Sharee was 26 years old and the twice-divorced mother of three children. What she really needed in her life was some stability, someone to care for her and her kids, someone with money. That person arrived in the form of Bruce Miller, a successful businessman who owned B & D Salvage, an auto scrapyard in Flint, Michigan. Sharee started working there in late 1997. It wasn’t long before she had her hooks in her new boss. Within a little over a year, she had accepted his proposal of marriage.
Bruce Miller was, by all accounts, a good man. He was absolutely besotted with his wife, who was 20 years his junior. For her part, Sharee was happy to have someone to cater to her needs. Not that it affected her behavior in any way. She remained a shameless flirt, fluttering her eyes at any man she encountered. She had also, by now, discovered the world of internet chat rooms and would spend hours online chatting with various men. That was how she met Jerry Cassaday.
Jerry was a former police officer from Cass County, Missouri. Once, he’d harbored aspirations of becoming an FBI agent, but those dreams had been dashed after he had broken a cardinal rule. He’d spoken out about wrongdoing and corruption within his department. For this gallant action, he was shunned, demoted, and eventually forced to resign. Depressed at losing the career he loved, he’d begun drinking heavily and even dabbling in drugs. That had ended up costing him his marriage. Thereafter, Cassaday had decided to make a fresh start and had moved to Reno, Nevada. He was working as a pit boss at Harrah’s Casino and Hotel when he first started communicating with Sharee Miller.
Like Sharee’s husband, Jerry Cassaday was considered by those who knew him to be a nice guy. But he was lonely and vulnerable and thus easy pickings for the arch-manipulator. She told him that she was a wealthy businesswoman who was in a nonsexual marriage with an older, disabled man. She also peppered him with X-rated messages and videos, further drawing him into her web. When she started suggesting that they should meet in person, Jerry was all too keen.
An opportunity eventually presented itself when Sharee was invited to attend a Mary Kay convention in Reno. She had recently become an agent for the cosmetics company, and the junket was the perfect cover for an illicit hook-up. She and Jerry finally met face to face and had sex that first night. That was when Jerry learned that his internet buddy was every bit as kinky as her online persona had suggested.
In truth, Jerry Cassaday should have known better. He was an ex-cop and had once worked as a homicide investigator. He should have seen right through Sharee Miller, but Jerry was blinded by lust, blinkered by love. As he and Sharee resumed their online relationship (and managed a few more in-person visits), she began spinning him a tale. She told him that her husband was involved in the mob and that he was physically abusive to her. She used makeup to simulate bruises on her body and sent photos of these “injuries” to Jerry. She told him that she was pregnant with his child and sent him a fake sonogram (Miller was actually unable to have any more children because she’d had a tubal ligation). Then, just as Cassaday was getting excited about the child and urging her to leave her husband to be with him, she told him that her husband had paid some men to gang rape her and that she’d lost the baby as a result. She even set up a fake e-mail account in her husband’s name and started sending Cassaday threatening and taunting messages.
And these manipulations worked. Within months, Cassaday had become so incensed that he was ready to do anything to liberate Sharee from the monster who had her in his grasp. Anything. Including murder.
On November 8, 1999, Sharee made a desperate call to her brother-in-law, Chuck, and told him that she was worried about Bruce. He was late coming home from work and he wasn’t answering his phone. Since she was afraid to go down to the scrapyard after dark, she asked Chuck if he would check on his brother. Chuck, of course, said that he would. It would be he who found Bruce Miller’s body, shotgunned to death among the wrecked cars that had been his livelihood.
Sharee was questioned about the shooting, of course, and suggested a name to the police. She said that she suspected a jealous former lover of being involved in the crime. The man was brought in and subjected to a polygraph, which he failed. However, there was no other evidence implicating him in the murder, and he was released. The police had, in any case, decided that Bruce Miller had probably been shot during a botched robbery.
Meanwhile, the newly-widowed Mrs. Miller appeared to be taking her husband’s tragic death with remarkable fortitude. Just two days after Bruce was shot, she was seen dancing the night away at a bar in Otisville, Michigan. Within two weeks, she had a live-in lover – and it wasn’t Jerry Cassaday. Cassaday was about to learn in the cruelest possible way that he’d been taken for a fool. Almost immediately after Bruce’s death, Sharee started distancing herself from him, either refusing to answer his messages or providing curt, hurtful responses. Then she told him that she had a new lover and started taunting him with the lurid details of the relationship. Finally, in December 1999, she told him never to contact her again.
Jerry was devastated by the betrayal, wracked with guilt over the murder he’d committed. He realized now that everything Sharee had told him had been a lie, that he’d been tricked into gunning down an innocent man. Eventually, it all became too much for him. On February 11, 2000, while living with relatives in Odessa, Missouri, Jerry Cassaday took his own life. His family found him slumped in a chair, a Bible open in his lap. He’d left behind three suicide notes. One of them was about to mete out some well-deserved justice to Sharee Miller.
The day after Cassaday’s death, a relative was cleaning out the basement where he’d been staying when she came across a briefcase with an envelope taped to its lid. That envelope contained a confession to the murder of Bruce Miller and named Sharee as the instigator of the crime. Cassaday had also had the presence of mind to provide evidence that backed up his allegations. Inside the envelope was a hard copy of an online conversation he’d had with Sharee just hours before Bruce Miller was killed. In it, she’d provided him with directions to the salvage yard. She’d even sent him a reminder, telling him that it was time to go.
Sharee Miller’s evil machinations had finally caught up with her. Once the details in Cassaday’s note were verified, she was placed under arrest and charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder. At her January 2001 trial, she was convicted on those charges and sentenced to 54 to 81 years.
But Sharee Miller wasn’t about to let prison slow her down. She soon began corresponding with a man named Michael Denoyer and invited him to visit her. The two became engaged after their very first meeting.
In the meantime, Sharee’s attorneys had taken her case on appeal. They would eventually succeed in getting her conviction quashed after a judge ruled that Jerry Cassaday’s suicide note should never have been admitted into evidence. In July 2009, after spending more than 10 years behind bars, Sharee Miller was released on bond while she awaited her new trial.
Over the next three years, Sharee picked up her life as though nothing had happened. She partied, hung out in bars, and went through a succession of lovers. She also picked up her old habit of hanging out online, using a variety of social networks, her personal profiles littered with outrageous lies. Via these media, she frequently protested her innocence, writing with such persuasion that many believed her. In other posts, she admitted that she’d once led an immoral life but claimed that she was a changed woman, having found God in prison.
Those protestations would do her no good, however. When the matter eventually came to trial, the original conviction was affirmed, the original sentence reinstated. In August 2012, Sharee Miller was sent back to prison to serve out the remainder of her time. She did so still proclaiming a miscarriage of justice. Later, she’d have a change of heart.
In 2016, Miller addressed a four-page typed letter to Genesee Circuit Judge Judith Fullerton, admitting her role in her husband’s death. She claimed that she could no longer live with the guilt of what she’d done. Given her history of lies and manipulation, there is probably a simpler reason behind her sudden candor. More than likely, she has begun entertaining thoughts of parole.
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